NHL: Sunday Picks and Tidbits
Sunday is like Christmas Eve for Hockey fans. With the NHL trade deadline a little more than 24 hours away as of this writing, the rumor mill is in full swing. We’ve already seen many of the bigger names moved, however, there are still a decent amount of players on the market. I’m sure we’ll also see some names moved that aren’t mentioned quite as much on the rumor mill.
Saturday nights trade of Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes to the Chicago Blackhawks, is a fantastic move for both clubs. The Coyotes gain another first-round pick in 2015 and despite the fact it will likely be a low first-rounder, it’s still a tremendous asset. Also going back to the Coyotes was solid defense prospect Klas Dahlbeck. The 23-year-old Swede has a chance to be a fixture on the Coyotes defense core for many years to come. By no means is he an elite prospect, however he is very solid and a safe bet to be a solid 3rd pairing defensive-defenseman with good size (6’3″ 207 lbs) and even some offensive ability. This is the type of young defenseman that the Coyotes organization lacked.
In Vermette, the Blackhawks get a center iceman who can slot in on their second line behind Jonathan Toews. The 32-year-old has 13 goals and 22 assists on the season and is an outstanding face-off guy, which is huge, especially come playoff time. With the long-term injury to Hawks leading scorer Patrick Kane, Vermette will help provide some offensive depth in Kane’s absense. While it seems likely that Vermette is just a rental for the Hawks as he is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st, is said to be asking for at least $5 million per season on a long-term deal and the Hawks Salary Cap commitments, it’s possible if he fits in well that maybe the Hawks would try to get creative and move out another high-priced player or two in the offseason, if they feel Vermette is a must needed fit. That being said, with Vermette’s age, a long-term deal is risky for whomever is to sign him, although he will no doubt get a very lucrative long-term deal especially with the weak free agent class of 2015.
Picks for Sunday’s Games:
1) Los Angeles Kings at Winnipeg Jets
Predicted Winner: Kings
2) Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
Predicted Winner: Panthers
3) Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Predicted Winner: Penguins
4) Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals
Predicted Winner: Capitals
5) Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars
Predicted Winner: Ducks
6) St. Louis Blues at Vancouver Canucks
Predicted Winner: Blues
Happy Trade Deadline Eve!